Wednesday, December 4, 2013

This is the time

On Day 4 of this month of preparing for Christmas, I am up at 5 a.m.   You're thinking...."What in the world?"  Today's post is all about making time for Christ these days of this season of Christmas.

To make room for Jesus in your home and hearts, we have to make room for Him in our focus, our plans, our holiday, our days, our weeks, our hours, our thoughts, our minds and yes, our hearts.

That's what a preparing does.  This time of preparation isn't about ticking this off your to-do list of things to read, or checking another day of Advent devotionals off your calendar.   This time is about inviting God to be a part of why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.

Advent days bring about ways we focus on the coming of the greatest Gift to mankind.  The focus forces us to think about time.  The preparation forces us to wrestle with our clocks, timers, and alarms.

Our use of time is such a big thing to manage.

Time is the elusive commodity that is so easily sacrificed during this time of year.  I believe we take advantage of the fact that there be more time tomorrow to write a post, or send a thoughtful note or to invite someone to church, for some of you, to make amends with someone you need to forgive.

Invitations to spend time with someone, take time.  Invitations force us to prepare and make preparations us for an important event.

Will you invite Jesus into your adventurous days?  Would your to-do list be different if you considered that today could be your last?

The prophet Isaiah prepared the people of Israel with an Advent invitation.

Isaiah 11: 1-2, 10  "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - and he will delight in the fear of the Lord....In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious."

Isaiah's invitation welcomes a time with Rest, with lasting, eternal time.

A Forever Divine Invitation was coming as a Banner "for the peoples; the nations..."  His invitation was a foretaste of Christ's coming, an epic birth announcement in the days ahead.

Time to get everything done these days is so hard to manage.  Or is it?

Preparation takes time.  And these days of Advent make us think about preparing.  Preparing helps us focus on the event, the guests, the people who you want to spend more time with.  The focus on the party or that coffee date together is appointed time.  To get the most out of these invitational days we have to sacrifice some time.

Advent is a season of preparation for the Divine.

How many of you have said this within the last week..."I need more time!?!"

Let's think back just 6 days ago.  Who of you were preparing for a big day of giving thanks?  We made time to eat and give a momentary nod of thanks for the meal before us to the God who invented time.  We thanked Him for the blessings on and around our table.  With grateful hearts we gathered and asked Him to bless our lives.  We invited Him to be a part of our days of counting the blessings around us.

And then...the Christmas season began and all of a sudden in the next 24 hours, we (me included) spent some of our grateful minutes in long lines giving thanks to God for saving us some pennies on a gift.  On the very day we thanked God big we invited the busy blur of gift shopping to begin.

I'm not proud of the way I spent my time that day.

So in these days of Advent, let's focus our blurring minutes to the manger shall we?

Even though we acknowledge that God is the giver of all time, let's set aside some time to worship Him today, and tomorrow, and the rest of our days.  Worship prepares us for a Coming.  It prepares our hearts to receive our Savior.  The posture of prayer, gratitude and worship prepares us for our eternal Rest, which has been described as "glorious".

Having more focused time on the Christmas miracle during these busy, blurry days would be a glorious gift.

My prayer:  God, we lay our minutes, our days before you.  Prepare our hearts and spirits to receive what you have for us today.  There are days that we invite so many silly things in.  Worry, stress, sin, and many messes.  God we know you are the giver of all the minutes and each of has an appointed time to meet you face to face.  What a glorious day that will be.  Until that instant, God teach us to number our days.  Focus our hearts on your Presence, so that today we can posture our day to receive your love, peace and joy.  Teach us to manage the gift of time well. Don't give us more hours but more of You in these days of preparation for your coming.  Give us more meaning to our preparations.  In our blurry moments, may we see Your hand on our days.

How will you make more room for rest these days of Advent?  For me, today I'm up at 5 am.    
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